The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, believed to have started from Wuhan city of Hubei Province in China in December 2019 swiftly spread across nations bringing even countries with advanced health facilities to their knees. As countries around the world grappled to address the health crisis by imposing lockdowns, life was brought to a standstill. The disease went from being a public health crisis to a global humanitarian crisis as businesses closed and people lost their livelihoods.
Nepal did not remain unaffected for long. As citizens started returning home from near and far countries, Nepal faced an exponential rise in the number of cases. The nation was in dire need of any help available. Chaudhary Foundation, forerunner in disaster response got to work immediately. Various discussions and meetings were held with health professionals and government officials to come up with a countermeasure for the looming catastrophe.
It was then brought to our notice that health care workers, the frontline staff of this silent battle was ill equipped to face the corona monster. Nepal, already lacking in infrastructure and technology had limited testing kits and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), a necessity for medical team in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. We took it upon us to provide essential medical equipment to health personnel. In a three phase campaign between March to May 2020, Chaudhary Foundation distributed PPE, surgical masks, N95 masks, hand sanitizers and oxygen concentrator to over 119 government hospitals, district administrative offices and health posts.
Additionally, 1000 testing reagents required by Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) machines was handed over to the Minister for Health and Population, Hon’ble Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal on 8th April 2020. Although our support was miniscule, we are proud to have helped our government to some extent.
As lockdown started easing and government granted permission to bring factories into operation, CG employed various safety and preventive measures ranging from measuring temperature with thermal guns to assigning employees on rotation basis and preparing prevention guidelines. Besides, CG has purchased Insurance Policy to indemnify the risk of COVID-19 for all employees.
In continuation of COVID-19 Prevention and Protection Campaign, Chaudhary Foundation provided medical equipment to 30 birthing centers in Province 2 on 5th June 2019. Nepal has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rate in South Asia with 239 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births according to 2016 Demographic and Health Survey. During the lockdown, 31 pregnant and lactating women lost their lives. As Province 2 is slowly turning into a hot spot for the pandemic due to a huge influx of people from India in recent days, maternal and neonatal health is at greater risk. Hence, keeping in mind the safety of health care workers at the forefront providing safe delivery services amidst the health crisis, the Foundation made the donation.
COVID-19 Response campaign in 2021, Chaudhary Foundation handed over a newly set up 18-bed ICU ward at the country’s oldest Bir Hospital to the hospital management on June 10, 2021. The Foundation has established the ICU ward to support the treatment of people infected by the second wave of Covid-19.
Nirvana Chaudhary, Vice Chair of Chaudhary Foundation handed over the ICU ward to Prof. Dr. Jageshwor Gautam, Chief Executive Officer of Covid-19 Unified Central Hospital (Bir Hospital) amidst a program organized at Bir Hospital. A total of 18 ICU beds were set up with nine beds on the first floor and another nine on the second floor in the new building of Bir Hospital.
An oxygen plant is also being constructed at the hospital with the coordination of Chaudhary Foundation and financial assistance of Nabil Bank.
The Foundation will set up two more oxygen plants in the Mid and Far Western part of Nepal. The capacity of these three oxygen plants will be 50 cubic meters per hour and can fill up to 200 oxygen cylinders of 40 liters’ capacity daily.
Besides this, the Foundation has donated oxygen concentrators to hospitals in Province 1, Province 2, and Province 5 on June 14, 2021.